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Govt to set up Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, says PM

Vajpayee said the Govt will set up a Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra to deal with the needs of the 20 million-strong Indian diaspora.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2004 15:36 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The government will set up a Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, or Indian Diaspora Centre, here to deal with the needs of the 20 million-strong Indian diaspora, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said on Friday.

The government would provide land and a grant of Rs 250 million for the centre, Vajpayee announced while inaugurating the three-day Bharatiya Pravasi Divas, or Indian Diaspora Day, conference here.

The responsibility of running the centre, recommended by a government-appointed committee, would be entrusted to an autonomous body. This would raise resources from members of the diaspora, he added.

In a special gesture to the diaspora youth, the Prime Minister announced that each year a group of 50 second and third generation Indian youths from different countries would be invited to visit India for two weeks, coinciding with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

"We have great faith in the abilities of the young people of Indian origin all over the world. At the same time, we feel as strongly as all of you that it is essential that they be exposed to the land of their forefathers in order for them to see, understand and comprehend their Indianness," he said.

He added that while "we take delight in the growing success of the Indian diaspora, it is instructive not to forget the pain and sufferings that early Pravasi Bharatiyas (members of Indian diaspora) had to go through".

He noted that in many countries, such as Mauritius, South Africa, Caribbean islands and Fiji, Indians had been taken as indentured labourers.

"The injustice meted out to them remains a dark chapter in India's history. At the same time, the determined struggle against adversity is a source of inspiration for all us.

"If our forefathers were the victims of want and exploitation, our children and grandchildren will be the trailblazers of prosperity and a new era in human development marked by justice and universal brotherhood," Vajpayee asserted.

First Published: Jan 09, 2004 15:36 IST